High stakes NRL continues as we near the business end of the season. While there has been some questioning of referee’s decisions, it’s an annual trend for every single call to be scrutinised at this time of the year.

Here are the Power Rankings for Round 19:

1. (1) Dragons: Remain in 1st position, however were probably fortunate to get the win against a dominant Rabbitohs side. Gasnier looked much more settled this week and provided good impact from the bench.

2. (4) Wests Tigers: Should see of the Cowboys with ease at fortress Leichhardt. The win allowing them to draw level with the previously untouchable Penrith outfit.

3. (2) Penrith Panthers: Up 22-0 after 20 minutes, this should have been a cakewalk for Penrith in front of a an all time record home crowd. Got the wobbles and lost their way in this one. Discipline concerning, several backchat calls costing them when the heat was on. 2nd loss in a row.

4. (3) Roosters: Victory under tough conditions will do wonders for their belief. Referee’s calls were hammering them, but somehow the reinvented Roosters of 2010 pushed through to snatch a valuable win. Still gunning for Top 4 home final.

5. (7) Broncos: Just edge out the Warriors for 5th on the NRL News Power Rankings. The Brisbane side took on the Titans in their backyard and came away with the win, continue to hum along well and firming weekly for a Top 4 slot come finals time.

6.  (6) NZ Warriors: Despite missing impressive half Issac John, the Warriors continued on their merry-way. The return to Tate and Seymmour obviously helping their cause. Doing everything right at the moment, both at home and away.

7. (9) Manly: Rocketed back into form against perennial under-performers Cronulla. This should be the shot in the arm the Sea Eagles needed. Watmough back to best form, sets up a juicy clash with the Wests Tigers at Brookvale next weekend.

8.  (5) Souths: Have been playing OK, but unable to secure a win in the past fortnight. The loss sees them slip behind the pack after looking good things only a few weeks ago. Tough draw ahead.

9.  (8) Titans: If it wasn’t panic stations before, it should be now. A loss at home in front of a good crowd sees the Gold Coast only having won 2 from their last 7 games. Loss of Greg Bird adds to their woes. Big job ahead for John Cartwright to get these boys focused.

10.  (13) Eels: Get the jump on nearby rivals after gutsy comeback win over Penrith. Back to back wins has helped the Parramatta side keep in touch with the Top 8 teams. Large points scoring tallies have helped restored confidence in finding the try line.

11. (12) Raiders: What a solid victory at home for the Canberra side. The Green Machine was back with a bang, racking up a cricket score on a previously improving Knights side. Raiders are back at home this week against Cronulla and will fancy their chances to notch up another win which would see them on 20 competition points.

12. (10) Bulldogs: Would be struggling to stomach their loss to the Roosters after setting up a good platform early. Are playing much better in recent weeks, but desperately needed to beat the Sydney side. Crunch match against the Eels awaits.

13. (11) Knights: Have seemingly undone all their good work in recent times with a major failure in the ACT. Points difference is now in disarray and they remain adrift from the Top 8 teams. Good news for Newcastle fans is they meet the Cowboys next week on a short turnaround.

14. (15) Cowboys: While there hasn’t been much to crow about this year, their cleanout is underway and they have plenty of room to shop for some of the NRL’s best talent. Pressure on Neil Henry will surely mount with every failing week.

15. (14) Cronulla: Back to their flopping selves after a smashing at the hands of Manly. Sure, the Sharks were undermanned – but they simply have to do more.

16. (16) Storm: Despite being rubbed out this year, they’ve actually dropped a few games now and their actual position would be 6th on the NRL Ladder if they were playing for keeps.

By ricky

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